Registration of bicycles, licensing of cyclists may well not make roadways safer, say observers

SINGAPORE: Necessitating cyclists to be accredited or bicycles to be registered may not have the desired influence of holding streets in Singapore safe, say observers, noting that such steps may perhaps impede the country’s biking eyesight. 

Rather other endeavours, these kinds of as putting bigger emphasis on schooling, may possibly bear a lot more fruit in terms of retaining cyclists as effectively as other road customers safe and sound, transportation professionals advised CNA. 

Senior Minister of Condition for Transportation Chee Hong Tat had said on Monday (Apr 12) that the principles all over cycling on the streets would be reviewed, amid an boost in its reputation. 

Amid the actions to be analyzed by the Energetic Mobility Advisory Panel are the likelihood of requiring cyclists to be accredited and bicycles to be registered.

Mr Chee observed nevertheless that any alterations to recent regulations would have to be done in a “balanced and fair” way so as to stay away from discouraging biking. 

Browse: Panel to critique procedures on biking on the road, registration of bicycles to be examined: Chee Hong Tat


Bicycles had been needed to be registered listed here from the colonial period till 1982, when the practice was discontinued. 

But in excess of the several years, there have been quite a few calls to revive the licensing of the two-wheelers and their riders. 

In 2013, former Nee Quickly GRC Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah had proposed that cyclists be needed to choose safety classes ahead of staying issued licences. 

The suggestion resurfaced in 2016, when numerous letters to the Straits Situations discussion board named for registration as a implies of deterring errant riders. 

The Land Transportation Authority (LTA) experienced responded to the letters indicating it experienced researched licensing “very carefully”, but cited “practical difficulties” in employing these kinds of a plan. 

Implementing and controlling a licensing system would be as well source-intense, mentioned LTA then, introducing that there are problems riders would be discouraged from cycling as it would be much too onerous to possess a bicycle. 

Identical causes have been cited for the rejection of bike licensing prerequisites in other towns, this sort of as Los Angeles and Seattle in the United States. 

However, there are other locales which have this sort of techniques in location, this sort of as Japan, where it exists mostly as an anti-theft measure. 

In Honolulu, cyclists have to shell out a just one-time US$15 (S$20) registration payment for all bicycles with wheels that are at minimum 20 inches in diameter. This move brings in a reported US$400,000 (S$534,950) every 12 months for the Hawaiian cash. 

Go through: IN Concentration: Why can not cyclists and motorists just get together?

A lone bicycle owner rides through circular road in Singapore where by most stores are closed amid circuit breaker measures to have COVID-19. (Image: Marcus Mark Ramos) 

REGISTRATION Professionals AND Drawbacks

There are a variety of attainable advantages connected with the registration of bicycles, claimed Dr Cecilia Rojas, whose analysis is focused on lively mobility. 

In addition to better enforcement of basic safety rules, registration could assistance reduce scenarios of bike theft as nicely as deserted or illegally parked two-wheelers, observed the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) lecturer. 

Any such plan really should have apparent polices regarding who needs to be registered, and be adopted gradually so as to give individuals adequate time to adapt, she reported, including that the licensing procedure must be “straightforward and easy”. 

But Dr Rojas added that it would be complicated to introduce a licensing framework that could cater to different sorts of cyclists, noting also there could be issues in employing registration for distinct varieties of bicycles. 

Go through: Singapore sees cycling boom amid COVID-19, with enhanced ridership and bicycle profits

“Bicycles are purchased, bought, exchanged extremely consistently. Also, in cases of street bicycles, from time to time just the frame or the handle or the wheels are improved, producing the bicycle lighter or quicker. Would these types of alterations be essential to be informed (to the authorities), or a new licence be necessary?” she requested.

The inconvenience of the approach could deter folks from cycling, she included, echoing Mr Chee’s concerns.

Whilst registration is needed for e-bikes and e-scooters, transport expert Tham Chen Munn questioned how powerful this has been in boosting highway protection. 

Mr Tham, who is a business growth director for targeted traffic options firm PTV Asia-Pacific, questioned if the registration for these units – which necessitates that they display an identification variety – had assisted in catching errant riders. 

Cycling advocate Francis Chu mentioned that e-scooters were being eventually banned from footpaths despite necessitating registration. 

“On the roadways, motor vehicles go a lot quicker and the distance in between them is further more apart when compared to individuals on the pavement. If on the footpath it failed to assistance address the errant riders, it will be much more complicated to capture the quantity plate on the highway,” mentioned the co-founder of cycling team Appreciate Biking SG. 

Mr Chu prompt there could be a threat of motorists tailing errant cyclists so as to discover their quantity plates. 

Speaking to the media on Monday, Secure Cycling Undertaking Drive president Steven Lim – a member of the Energetic Mobility Advisory Panel – had claimed the challenge of errant cyclists is a “behavioural” trouble, noting that there are also errant motorists irrespective of the stringent necessities to receive a driving licence. 

Read through: Electric bicycle riders ought to pass theory check to trip on roads below proposed improvements to Street Traffic Act

Creating Highway Cycling SAFER

Mr Chu, who also beforehand sat on the Lively Mobility Advisory Panel, proposed cyclists could be required to acquire an on the internet test on how to cycle safely and securely on the road, although motorists could also be inspired to get a comparable exam on how to respond to cyclists on the highway. 

He explained the LTA really should seek advice from expert cyclists on “problematic areas”, incorporating that infrastructure this kind of as secured bicycle lanes and junctions could be released in particular places if space lets. 

Pace restrictions in particular spots could also be diminished in certain locations to continue to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe, explained Mr Tham.

He pointed to the United Nations’ assistance for a 30kmh pace limit in “areas wherever susceptible street consumers and motor vehicles combine in a regular and prepared manner” as aspect of its next 10 years of Action for Highway Protection, which commences this yr. 

This can be accomplished in places with a “high density of persons going for walks and cycling”, he included. 

“We’re not speaking about expressways, we’re not speaking about important arterials, go away individuals as they are. There are alternatives to (introduce a speed limit of) 30kmh in spots that can be secure for persons to appear out and enjoy and be a lot more energetic,” he stated. 

Examine: Commentary: Banning bicycles from footpaths won’t make inadequate biking behaviors disappear

Dr Rojas of SUSS advised that larger educational endeavours, fairly than a obligatory idea take a look at, would best retain cyclists risk-free. 

“My 4-calendar year-old – and lots of other individuals – rides a bicycle and although he would not know how to browse or create, and consequently just cannot get a principle exam, he is informed that he ought to dismount and press at specific places, (stay) on which facet of the footpath to experience, exactly where to hold out for the environmentally friendly man and other bicycle laws,” she explained.

“This behaviour is received via education and learning and encouragement.” 

The stress of this sort of academic initiatives really should not fall purely on cyclists, but also on all highway consumers to “acknowledge, respect, and co-exist” safely, she explained. 

“Considering that the biking fee, despite the fact that increasing, is however comparatively low in Singapore, strategies of encouragement, details and instruction might be the ideal strategy to make improvements to basic safety and improve the energetic mobility fee.”

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